Dec. 18, 2007
The Gamecocks, 5-4 and celebrating 100 seasons of Gamecock basketball this season, have had 12 days off since its last game for final exams. Carolina's last game on Dec. 6: a 68-67 win over Providence as part of the Pizza Hut Big East-SEC Challenge in Philadelphia. South Carolina hosts the next five games at the Colonial Center with the Baylor Bears first up on the docket at 7:30 pm on Wed., Dec. 19.
The contest will be televised on CSS with Wimp Sanderson and Mike Morgan making the call. The USC-BU game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and on Sirius satellite radio channel No. 121. In addition, it can be picked up via the internet at www.gamecocksonline.com.
Baylor, playing its first true away game at USC this year, is 7-1 after its 100-72 win over Wayland Baptist, an NAIA school, on Sat., Dec. 15. The Bears had five players in double figures: Curtis Jerrells scored 18 points, Kevin Rogers had 17, LaceDarius Dunn added 14 points and Henry Dugat scored 12 for the Bears. Its lone loss was to then-No. 6 Washington State in Waco on Nov. 30 (67-64) as part of the Big 12-Pac 10 Challenge.
Members of the Big 12 Conference, the 2007-08 season is head coach Scott Drew's fifth at Baylor as he continues the unprecedented overhaul he began in 2003. After taking over a program decimated by tragedy, player departures, depleted rosters and NCAA restrictions, Drew has recruited a solid foundation of high school players that after earning valuable playing experience are showing progress. Last season's team was 15-16, the highest win total at Baylor in six seasons, including the program's first Big 12 Championship victory since 2001.
Returning five starters this year, the Bears feature four players in double figures. Those players include Curtis Jerrells (13.1), LaceDarius Dunn (12.4), Kevin Rogers (12.1) and Aaron Bruce (11.1). Rogers leads all battling on the boards with 7.1 rpg. Josh Lomwers is hitting almost 78% of his shots from beyond the three point line (78%). Dunn is the highest-rated Baylor signee in recent memory (rated the nation's No. 24 recruit by Scout.com). He was named the "Best Perimeter Scorer" among incoming Big 12 newcomers by Rivals.com.
Baylor won the 2007 Paradise Jam championship with an impressive three-game run Nov. 16-19 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Bears defeated Wichita State (64-55), Notre Dame (68-64) and Winthrop (62-54) to earn the title at the eighth annual tournament. The title marked Baylor's first in-season tournament championship on the road since winning the 1971 Holiday Classic in Las Vegas.
USC is 1-0 vs. Baylor, with its only contest resulting in a 64-59 win by South Carolina in Waco on Dec. 9, 2006. In the Gamecock win Tre' Kelley led all scorers were 26 points, and Brandon Wallace grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Brandis Raley-Ross was SEC Freshman of the Week with his 11 point performance (3 of 6 from 3 point) and Dominique Archie was 7-8 down the stretch at the free throw line.
USC is 8-9 vs. the Big 12 Conference's current roster. The last time Carolina played a Big 12 team it lost 70-54 to No. 9 Kansas on CBS on Jan. 7, 2007 in Columbia. South Carolina has a .500 or better record against six of the eight Big 12 teams it has played: Texas Tech (2-1), Baylor (1-0), Kansas State (1-0), Oklahoma (1-0), Nebraska (1-1) and Texas (1-1).
Gamecock fans may recognize Baylor assistant coach Matthew Driscoll as he spent time at Clemson (1998-03) under then-head coach Larry Shyatt.
Odom on the verge of 400 wins
South Carolina head coach Dave Odom has 397 career wins in his 22 years as a head coach at East Carolina (38), Wake Forest (240) and South Carolina (119). He would be the 28th active coach to reach 400 wins. Odom is already currently the winningest all-time coach in the SEC.
Leading the Way
Downey leads the team with 4.8 apg and 3.4 spg. Muldrow leads the crew with 1.9 bpg, including his five block performance vs. Campbell.
Devan Downey was named the SEC Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 3-9. Downey led the Gamecocks to a 68-67 win over Providence in the Pizza Hut Big East/SEC Invitational, totaling 21 points with five steals and five assists in the victory. His fifth steal of the game led to a fast break layup for a 65-59 Carolina lead, ending a six-minute Gamecock scoring drought. The South Carolina win was the only SEC victory in the four-game set against the Big East Conference.
The Cincinnati transfer has scored in double figures in every game this season. The Gamecocks swept the league's Player of the Week awards Dec. 10, as Demetress Adams was named the SEC women's basketball Player of the Week as well.
Carolina's Dominique Archie started every game last season for the Gamecocks (30). While Brandis Raley-Ross started the last seven games, he only started 13 games last year and Dwayne Day (13) and Evka Baniulis (9) started about a third of the games as well.
Four of Carolina's last five opponents return a bevy of starters. George Mason returned five starters. Providence, Clemson, Penn State and N.C. State returned four starters. After Providence the teams don't come in with diapers on either: Baylor (Dec. 19) returns all five starters and UC Irvine (Dec. 28) returns four.
The Gamecocks have had half of their games with 9+ steals per game. South Carolina came up with 15 steals with Devan Downey leading the charge with a season-high six steals. Raley-Ross added two and Sam Muldrow, Zam Fredrick, Chad Gray, Branden Conrad, Rob Wilder, Dwayne Day and Mike Holmes each picked up a theft.
The Gamecocks have forced double-digit turnovers against every opponent this season except one (9, Southern California). Penn State let the ball fall into Gamecock hands a season-high 21 times and Campbell turned it over 20 times. Opponents are turning the ball over an average of 15.8 times a game with USC is averaging just 11.1 turnovers a game.
The Gamecocks have opened the season by holding teams to 66.3 points per game and have held six opponents under 67 points six times this season, including The Citadel who scored just 42 points vs. USC's 100. Across the court, USC is averaging 78.6 ppg and has hit 74+ points in a game six times this year. Last year, after nine games, USC was averaging 63.8 ppg to the opponents 61.8 ppg.
Carolina is holding opponents to just 27.8 % from three-point range on the year, including The Citadel who shot 3-29 from beyond the arc (10.3%) and Penn State who went 4-25 for a 16% showing. Likewise USC is hitting 45% of its 3 point attempts with Brandis Raley-Ross leading the charge in the SEC at 71% by averaging 2.44 threes per game.
South Carolina is playing just its fifth game at the Colonial Center this season when it hosts Baylor. The Gamecocks have played four games at two neutral sites this season already (three in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic and one in Philadelphia at the Pizza Hut Big East-SEC Challenge). It is the most USC has played on a neutral court this early in the season since it played four of its first 7 regular season games in 1998-99 (two in Indianapolis and two in Charlotte).
The Gamecocks have made at least one 3-pointer in 177 consecutive games since they went 0-19 vs. Mississippi State on March 2, 2002 - a 64-57 loss. They have also had at least one block in 95 consecutive games since they went block-less on Jan. 15, 2005 in a 66-63 win vs. Tennessee.
Double up you 2
Think Zam Fredrick and Devan Downey couldn't wait to play ball for the Gamecocks after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules? Both have scored double-figures in each of the nine games this season with both also posting career highs at least once in the early going.
With double figures in the Baylor game, Downey will snap his own-career best: Downey scored double figures in nine straight his freshman year at Cincinnati. Downey tied his previous career-high of 24 vs. South Carolina State and then broke the career-high with 30 points vs. Penn State at the Old Spice Tournament. Downey shot 2+ 3 pointers just four times for the Bearcats his freshman year. Just nine games into the season, Downey has 2+ 3s in four games this season, including a career-high four vs. Penn State. He has said the most improved part of his game this year was his jumper.
Fredrick posted a career-high 24 points vs. George Mason and then followed up a week later with a new career-high of 28 at Clemson. He has already topped his previous career-best streak: the most double figures games in a row for Fredrick while with the Yellow Jackets: five straight (Florida State to Duke in 2006).
Tops in the SEC
Carolina is leading the SEC in a number of statistical categories as of Mon., Dec. 17. The following are a few:
* The Gamecocks are No. 1 in the SEC in three point field goal % at .45% (76-168) and No. 2 in three point field goal % defensive at 28% (47-169) and No. 2 in assist-turnover ratio (+4.67).
* Brandis Raley-Ross hit 6 of 7 3's vs. Campbell for a league-best 86% 3 point shooting % (single game). He leads the SEC in three point field goal % at 71% (22 of 31). He is No. 7 at 2.4 3s pg.
* Downey leads the SEC with 3.4 steals per game and is fifth in the SEC with 18.4 ppg. Downey is fifth in assists at 4.8 apg.
* Zam Fredrick is ninth in scoring with 16.1 ppg.
* Carolina is third in the SEC with 8.8 3's per game and leads the league by making 46% of its 3 point attempts (70 of 154). The Gamecocks are second in 3 point FG defense (27%) and third with 14.5 orpg.
* Mike Holmes is fourth in the league in offensive rebounds with 3.3 orpg and 11th in the league with 7.1 rpg.
* Sam Muldrow is eighth in the SEC in blocked shots (1.9 bpg).
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